The Restless Wave
John McCain
Contributed by Nina Calhoun

In ‘John McCain reflects on his ‘maverick’ past and the future of the country' Hohmann (2018) states that “the man who has spent a lifetime playing the maverick has gone full Bulworth.” The review appreciates the fact that McCain has taken a different approach in this work. The review continues to unveil that, while McCain’s previous books were authored by political gains as the driving force, this one is vastly different.  In its difference, McCain writes boldly while stating all facts without contemplating their effects, which could be detrimental on his political influence. This logic is supported by McCain’s admission that, “I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much.” The review emphasizes the book’s casting of  McCain as a man of courage and honesty. Even as he battles brain cancer, McCain has not shown any signs of wilting under the emotional burden frequently caused by the condition. Most importantly, McCain demonstrates his patriotism by being objective on critical issues affecting the country. In spite of the challenges, McCain sees a bright future for the country.

Szlai (2018) states that "You can see McCain in this book struggling to reconcile himself to what his Republican Party has largely become, even if he declines to come right out and say so." He has made attempts to be objective in his analysis of the political landscape in the country and the ever-changing political landscape. Although it is apparent that McCain appreciates the existence of problems within his party, he does not directly identify the issues. The review indicates that the brain cancer diagnosis has left McCain a sense of freedom in feeling indebted to no one. This new found freedom makes it easy for him to say whatever he wants without fearing the consequences.  Additionally, the book seeks to achieve multiple objectives at a time. It attempts to reflect on the past, express gratitude, and establish a legacy.

Green (2018) introduces McCain as “an American patriot, hero, and politician. As the Vietnam War raged, he was held for five years as a prisoner of war at the so-called Hanoi Hilton.” He proceeds to say that, “McCain is dying of cancer but he won’t leave this earth without one more fight. ‘The Restless Wave’ is his latest book, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia is his latest foe." The intention of the book, according to Green, is for McCain to sort out his problems with leadership in America and the Putin-led Russian, Donald Trump, before he dies. According to the review, the book may be treated as a dying man's last wishes. However, the review appreciates that the book has tried to be as honest and candid as possible in the analysis of the position of America in global politics. The review finds that the American involvement in the Middle East Crisis was a success even in the face of the challenges encountered during the period.

Conrad (2018) praises McCain for the fight that he has staged against cancer. Conrad also notes that McCain has not lost the fighting spirit that made him an influential political figure in America. Conrad emphasizes that “McCain’s impending death gives this book’s résumé of “great fights” its urgency and, yes, its gravity. Its mood is grim, not just because of his medical prognosis." Conrad also takes the view that since it is a matter of time before McCain succumbs to cancer, there is a greater inclination to believe his statements as there is little reason why a dying man would lie. However, Conrad appreciates that McCain took leadership as a sacrifice and has always served the people with diligence, even in his illness.

Elvin (2018) describes The Restless Wave as “a plain-spoken and often painful personal account; a résumé of a contentious career and a defense of controversial political decisions. It may inspire or enrage. But it is less an effort to provoke such conflicting responses than paeans to McCain's idea of America.” Elvin praises the book as a tremendous effort to reconcile what people know and what people do not know. It is candid and written without any political intention, making it easy for the audience relate with and to trust. Elvin maintains that McCain is a man who has always chosen to speak his mind. Regardless of his present medical condition, it is hard to argue that there might have been a change in his personality. However, Elvin argues the America that McCain desires can only exist in his mind and is far from the reality. Elvin also praises the boldness with which McCain attacks the Putin administration for its alleged interference with the American elections.

Yakovicci (2018) makes one of the most candid assessments of McCain's book. He writes that "It’s worth considering what he has to say. He may side-step some issues, and no one writes a memoir to make themselves look bad, but it’s hard to argue that he is not sincerely considering what’s in the best interests of Americans as citizens of the world.” While it is evident that there are some issues the book might have side-stepped, it is difficult to ignore or deny McCain’s demonstration of a high level of patriotism. Besides, the book is straight-shooting. For instance, McCain hits at the conservative Republicans doing radio talk shows about conspiracy theories and offering absolutely no solutions to the problems facing Americans. Finally, Yakovicci appreciates the strength of McCain's character by recognizing that he owns all his successes as well as failures and he does not regret or ask for forgiveness from anyone.

Kirkus (2018) has heaped massive praises on McCain’s book, terming it as “Sometimes rueful, sometimes defiant, and always affecting. Even McCain’s political opponents should admire the fiery grace with which he’s exiting the world.” Even the most ardent critics of McCain would appreciate the depth and honesty that has been used in the book. He holds nothing back in his book, and there is a sense in which it tries to speak to the most critical issues facing Americans. It speaks to the internal political challenges the United States faces as well as its position in global politics. McCain believes that there is hope for the future of America.

Finally, McCain, Simon, and Schuster (2018) admit that “despite flashes of the ‘straight talk’ for which McCain has become known, this book meanders into navel-gazing detail and sometimes skirts meaningful examination.” The book has the interest of the country as its critical concern. The review admits that the positive reception that the book has received might have been influenced by the fact that the author is dying. There is a sense in which this book extracts an emotional appeal from the audience.

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